Fashion Systems, Narratives and Post Colonial Britain // CTS2

In this session we began by discussing fashion systems and the factors of which it is made up of. We spoke about how perceptual judgement, viewer, context, model and semiotics have a severe effect on the structural fashion system.  We analysed this using the situation of a couple sitting in a park, where the female in the couple is not wearing a shirt. In this situation, the perceptual judgement could be based on the viewers background and cultural beliefs as to how they respond to the situation, the viewer would be the outsider in the situation, observing what is happening, having a ‘perceptual judgement’; This could also be subjective to the male/ female gaze, relative to the viewer. The context int his situation could often depend on the weather, the event, the location and also how much background information that the viewer has regarding on what is happening. The model in this situation would be the subject (couple) group/culture and /or who is actually wearing/ not wearing the clothing itself. Finally, the semiotics in this event would refer to what we deem suitable according to laws and cultural views.

This example really breaks down how we develop opinions and fashion context according to each element of how/what we as a species think about a specific situation.

We then spoke about the fashion of the Post-Colonial Britain era. This raises issues of ‘being haunted by the past’ which ties into issues such as cultural appropriation. For example, if a white person was to part take in typically ‘Afro-Caribbean” fashion, this could be deemed disrespectful as they are wearing it for fashion rather than understanding the culture.


John Gay Image

In reference to the first part of the lecture, the whole idea of the colonial gaze existed during this period of time, for example, in Carol Tulloch’s book, “The Birth of Cool”, a photograph of a young black woman taken by John Gay shows a man with a look of disgust as to why there is a black woman there. This colonial gaze suggests that he has a specific representation of that woman’s culture and she is not conforming to it.

Overall this lecture highlighted how we visualise our own narratives and follow a fashion structure when developing an opinion regarding fashion.


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